Mohammed Fahd Ansari — 2022 Montgomery Township School Board Candidate
Posted September 7, 2022
Two incumbents and eight new candidates will be competing for the three seats on the Montgomery Township Board of Education in the upcoming November 8 election.
New candidates Mohammed Fahd Ansari of Belle Mead; Michelle Dowling of Skillman; Danish Mirza of Belle Mead; Joanna Filak of Skillman; Ania Wolecka-Jernigan of Belle Mead; Douglas Herring of Skillman; Craig Rothenberg of Belle Mead; and John A. Sangiovanni, III of Skillman, along with incumbents Phyllis Bursh of Belle Mead and Richard Specht of Belle Mead, each filed to run for three-year terms with the Somerset County Clerk’s Office.
Mohammed Fahd Ansari, Belle Mead
Director, Head of Account Management, Global Corporate & Investment Banking.
Three sons ages 8, 6, and 3.
What do you consider to be the three most important challenges facing the Montgomery school district at this time? Briefly how would you address these issues?
We believe that practicing clear, honest, and direct communication is at the heart of an effective school system. If elected, we would prioritize putting structures in place to ensure a trusting community that communicates well. Examples may include weekly newsletters explicitly explaining the lesson plans and inviting parents to information sessions to learn more about the curriculum and how it is being taught.
Families and the schools need to work in partnership in order to fully understand the purpose of the inclusive health curriculum and how it is being taught in each classroom. Students need to be strongly supported with expert and trained support staff such as counselors, advisors, and psychologists to ensure each student is thriving academically, socially, and emotionally.
What professional and personal experiences have prepared you for serving on the board?
Having served on committees at work and leading a team of individuals within the financial services industry in New York City, I have had opportunities to build successful partnerships with stakeholders to deliver strategic goals. I take pride in helping others to believe in the vision and staying focused on execution to fulfill broader objectives. Throughout my career, I have always actively engaged stakeholders and clients and advocated for jointly coming up with solutions to solve challenges.
My goal is to promote open dialogue with all key stakeholders to resolve issues, and enable students to enjoy attending one of the top school districts in the country.
Why are you running for the Board?
I want to serve this community and will be an active listener to the stakeholders on how I can help. I am a parent and have been a Montgomery resident for five years. I plan to stay here for the long term. I would like to work towards ensuring that our students are ready as they successfully go through the school system. Our students are our future and I will look to deliver on our motto to be “Champions for Students.”
The success of Montgomery Schools impacts everyone in Montgomery and Rocky Hill, whether they have student enrolled in the district, have a home whose values are impacted, or both. What role should a community play in forming policy and monitoring the school district? Is the school structure adequate? If not, what do you propose to improve transparency and community involvement?
The excellent academic achievements by students of the Montgomery School District was a key reason for my family to move here from the New York City area, and is a popular reason as to why others choose to move and live here. Since the district is such an integral part of this town, we need to make sure there are well-established lines of communication between the school district and all its residents to ensure everyone is helping each other and coming together as a community.
Where do you stand on the new Health Curriculum Standards?
Schools and families need to work in partnership to ensure the most supportive and developmentally appropriate experiences for our children. We believe schools play an important role in educating our children about how to stay safe and healthy. The key factor is also educating parents early and often about what is being taught and how they can partner with the schools to ensure a clear and consistent message. As a team, we support diversity and inclusion efforts that make every student feel comfortable at school. Having said that, it is critical for the administration and board to ensure that there are clear parameters and evaluation methods to ensure the curriculum is being taught in an age-appropriate manner.
Montgomery is an inclusive community and we are fortunate to be able to listen and learn from one another to enrich our own beliefs and embrace different perspectives. We will be committed to engaging with various stakeholders to strive towards building a framework where people feel their voices have been heard and we will find ways to build trust with each other in this domain. ■
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